My Little Sister is a Masterpiece
Understanding Autism by Taylor Gilmore
I love everything about my little sister. She has eyes that glisten and dimples with a smile of their own. She has a stuffed bear she calls, “Teddy” and he helps her with daily tasks such as counting goldfish crackers in her bowl. She is only four, but she is strong-willed and confident. She is a beautiful human being, a tiny work of art, but I worry that the world will not see her as the masterpiece I know she is.
The world expects cute little girls to give hugs, but Jocelyn does not like to. Relatives who have not seen her in a long time are eager to hug her and they are disappointed when she yells, “No! Jocelyn does not want to be touched. Jocelyn does not like hugs!” Sometimes my sister collapses in a full meltdown. because what some people see as an act of love, has always been uncomfortable for her. As cute as she is, it is vital to respect her, and any other child her age.
I grew up exchanging hugs with family members and giving high fives to friends, but I clenched my teeth when it was someone I didn’t know very well. It breaks my heart at how difficult it is for me, “sissy” to approach, or even hug Jocelyn because the idea of being surrounded frightens her. However, as her family, we have learned that there is more than one way to show our love for her, which includes respecting her routine, despite how difficult it may be.
Sometimes it gets to the point where no one can help her dress because she has a certain order of what clothing goes on first, and who is supposed to help her that day. “No sissy, mommy change Jocelyn today.” At school, interactions with teachers are challenging because she becomes distressed when a teacher tries to hold her hand or guide her to different activities in the classroom. She is a remarkable masterpiece in spite of what society may label as different.
My parents noticed this difference in Jocelyn early. By age two, they grew worrisome because she wasn’t speaking as much as the average two-year-old should and she wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone. These were some of the core symptoms of Autism, and after many visits with specialists, Jocelyn was later diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Although my mom was concerned about Jocelyn’s future, she saw her no different than before her diagnosis. She preaches that “People may see her as an Autistic child, but in reality, she is a human being who happens to live her life with Autism.” My mom did not treat the diagnosis as negative, instead she considered the news as an opportunity for growth for Jocelyn and for us, her family. Each day we continue to learn more about how to see the world from my sister’s view.. A child with Autism is often overlooked, stereotyped, and prejudged.
I wrote this article because I wanted the world to know that Jocelyn is not a victim of Autism. She is an inspiration.
This article was written by Taylor Gilmore for LOVE Girls Magazine and has been archived onto our Medium for easier online reading. Please consider supporting the magazine through financial or volunteer donations.